Holidays and Stress

Holidays cause an increase in stress levels
Holidays cause an increase in stress levels

Happy holidays everybody. The year is ending and soon it will be 2019. With the holiday season upon us inevitably we’ll be seeing family and friends. And while most people (well, maybe not most) enjoy seeing their family and spending times with them during the holidays, it is not an entirely stress-free event. And what happens to most people when they stress? Their blood pressure goes up, breathing gets a bit more labored, their body temperature rises and they may even feel a bit queasy. Another physiological response to stress is clenching or grinding of the teeth. And while this pales in comparison to other bodily responses, it does end up causing jaw pain, toothache, cracked teeth, headaches and other issues. With all of these issues, it would be good to have an action plan for handling the increase in stress during the holidays (and other times of the year too). Following is a list of “natural“ remedies for anxiety and stress.

  1. Exercise- we’re not talking about competing in a Triathlon. Walking for 20-40 minutes per day at a moderate pace is great for reducing stress. Plus our body release “endorphins” which is the body’s natural way of making itself feel better.
  2. Meditation-meditation doesn’t have to involve the lotus pose and deep breathing for 2 hours! But it does require some activity to steer your mind away from all the negative (or stressful) thoughts. And what better way to do this than by focusing your mind on something else (instead of nothingness). Cross word puzzles, brain teasers and other non-timed, non-competitive activities are great ways to meditate.
  3. Relaxation exercise- kind of an oxymoron! Who can relax while they exercise? There is a way. Lay on your couch or bed and focus your attention to different muscle groups/body parts. Focus your energy to a body part (like your feet) and move up slowly from there.
  4. Spending time with animals- this is why dog owners on average live longer than non-dog owners. Caring for another life form focuses our energy on them instead of wasting it on negative thoughts. Plus, animals do crazy things which is in itself a form of entertainment (except when that involves clean up on our part).

Hopefully you’ll be able to use some of these suggestions for reducing your stress during the holiday (i.e. stressful) season. Happy holidays and happy new year.